The ECB have confirmed Australia's full itinerary for their tour of England next year, which includes seven one-dayers in addition to the usual five Tests. Australia will spend four months in England with the Ashes set to follow the ICC World Twenty20, which takes place in June.
They switch formats with a four-day match against Sussex at Hove, followed by another against England Lions at New Road to prepare themselves for the five Test matches. The Rose Bowl was chosen as the venue for the third ODI on September 9, preceded by the first two games at Old Trafford.
"The summer of 2009 promises to be one of the most exciting in the history of cricket in England and Wales," David Collier, the ECB chief executive, said. "The Ashes and the NatWest Series along with the NatWest International Twenty20 matches have the potential for providing the sort of wonderful cricket which can fire the nation's imagination.
"And of course all this follows the ICC World Twenty20 which guarantees that all the best Twenty20 players in the world will be in this country in June 2009."
The news follows Glamorgan's coup last month when they were awarded the first Ashes Test, their inaugural Test match.
Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive, was delighted with the news that a taste of the Ashes is coming to New Road. "This is the closest we will ever get to playing a Test Match in Worcester and I couldn't be more pleased about the timing," he said. "2009 will be a huge year for cricket in England and for four days Worcester will be centre of the cricketing world."
A two-day match against Kent at Canterbury has been earmarked for August 15, in between the fourth and fifth Tests, though Australia could alternatively face England Lions if Kent are involved in Twenty20 finals day. In addition, Scotland will host a one-day warm-up to the seven ODIs with a fixture at Edinburgh on August 28.
The Ashes itinerary (full schedule)
May (tbc) Australia arrive in UK
Mon 1 - Thu 4 June - Warm-up period for World Twenty20
Fri 5 - Sun 21 June - World Twenty20
Wed 24 - Sat 27 June - Four-day game v Sussex (Hove)
Wed 1 - Sat 4 July - Four-day game v England Lions (Worcester)
Wed 8 - Sun 12 July - 1st Test Cardiff
Thu 16 - Mon 20 July - 2nd Test Lord's
Fri 24 - Sun 26 July - three-day game v Northants* (Northampton)
Thu 30 July - Mon 3 Aug - 3rd Test Edgbaston
Fri 7 - Tue 11 Aug - 4th Test Headingley
Sat 15 - Sun 16 Aug - Two-day game v Kent (Canterbury)
Thu 20 - Mon 24 Aug - 5th Test Oval
Fri 28 Aug - ODI v Scotland (Edinburgh)
Sun 30 Aug - 1st International Twenty20 (Old Trafford)
Tue 1 Sept - 2nd International Twenty20 (Old Trafford) (floodlit)
Fri 4 Sept - 1st ODI day/night (The Oval)
Sun 6 Sept - 2nd ODI (Lord's)
Wed 9 Sept - 3rd ODI day/night (The Rose Bowl)
Sat 12 Sept - 4th ODI (Lord's)
Tue 15 Sept - 5th ODI day/night (Trent Bridge)
Thu 17 Sept - 6th ODI day/night (Trent Bridge)
Sun 20 Sept - 7th ODI (Durham)
Mon 21 Sept Australia depart
Wed 8 - Sun 12 July, 1st Test, Cardiff
Thu 16 - Mon 20 July, 2nd Test, Lord's
Thu 30 July - Mon 3 Aug, 3rd Test, Edgbaston
Fri 7 - Tue 11 Aug, 4th Test, Headingley
Thu 20 - Mon 24 Aug, 5th Test, The Oval